The Impact of Asbestos on the Human Body

Prolonged exposure to asbestos fibres can lead to mesothelioma, a type of cancer that affects the thin membrane protecting several of the body’s vital organs. Many people who develop this life-threatening illness find they have been exposed to asbestos in an occupational setting.

Even minimal exposure to asbestos can pose a considerable risk to the health of those who have been in the immediate vicinity. Because asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma develop slowly, often taking years to become apparent, conditions can be difficult to detect.

How Does Mesothelioma Develop?

Exposure to asbestos is more likely to occur when materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or loosened, which releases the fibres into the air.

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What Are the Different Stages of Mesothelioma?

The ‘stage’ a mesothelioma tumour is at describes how much it has spread from when it first appeared in the lining of the lungs. A doctor will use image tests and biopsies to determine how far the cancer has spread.

Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4

Stage 1

  • Has not spread beyond the lining of the lungs
  • Doctors can remove it with surgery and extend life expectancy
  • Most treatment options are available, and best prognosis
  • Tumour is limited to the lining of one lung
  • The life expectancy of a stage 1 patient ranges from 30 to 40 months

Stage 1 Symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Chest pressure
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Nausea
Stage 1 Mesothelioma

Stage 2

  • Known as an ‘early-stage cancer’
  • Has not spread far from where it first appeared in the lining of the lungs
  • Those diagnosed with stage 2 mesothelioma are eligible for curative treatment
  • The tumour is limited to one side of the chest
  • In more advanced cases, it may have spread to the diaphragm or the surface of the lung
  • Patients may respond well to treatment due to the limited spread of the cancer

Stage 2 Symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Chest pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Persistent cough
  • Weight loss
Stage 2 Mesothelioma

Stage 3

  • Some treatment options are available, which can improve the quality of life
  • Treatment options are still potentially life-saving
  • Cancer has spread from the lining of the lung the chest wall and lung
  • Cancer cells have invaded the lymph nodes on one side of the chest

Stage 3 Symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss
  • Pained breathing
  • Fever
  • Stomach pain
  • Shortness of breath
Stage 3 Mesothelioma

Stage 4

  • At this stage, the cancer has spread throughout the chest wall, pericardium and diaphragm
  • The cells have invaded the lymph nodes located far from where the tumour first appeared
  • Due to the advanced stage of the cancer, doctors will usually use treatment to improve a patient’s quality of life

Stage 4 Symptoms:

  • Symptoms are more noticeable than any other stage
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Severe weight loss
  • Build-up of fluid in the lining of the abdomen
Stage 4 Mesothelioma
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If you are worried about an asbestos-related disease caused by exposure in your place of work, speak to a solicitor about making a compensation claim. Call JMW Solicitors on 0800 054 6570 or fill out an online enquiry form and let us know a suitable time to contact you. 

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